By David Stevens
At 85, it’s sagging and full of holes, abandoned about a mile west of Cannon Air Force Base.
The grounds around it are covered in weeds and spent shotgun shells.
Pigeons are the only frequent visitors.
But the old barn on the old Beasley farm still attracts attention.
Thrill-seeking teenagers have used it as a party barn for decades, claiming it’s haunted.
Tall-tale tellers love to speculate; maybe it used to be a lookout for something sinister?
The real story is at least as interesting.
Bill Beasley built the grain elevator in 1929, using a ton of 4-inch nails and a rail car of Kentucky white pine, according to Jayson Moore, Beasley’s great grandson.
“The ‘room’ at the very top was where the elevator bins made their turnaround in the elevating process,” Moore wrote in an email.
“Once grain was dumped out at the top, a flex tube could be moved to select one of four storage bins in which grain would be stored.”
The elevator’s grain storage capacity was about 2 million pounds, Moore said.
The facility paid for itself almost immediately. Soon after its completion, Beasley filled his barn with grain purchased at 50 cents a bushel, Moore said.
“He correctly speculated and sold the entire holding one year later at $4.50 per bushel. He paid for the entire elevator in one year.”
For a while, before it was converted to electricity, the elevator was run by a belt system powered by a 4-cylinder motor that came from an International truck salvaged from a fire. The fire, which occurred in the mid-1930s, burned Beasley’s two-story home and destroyed his truck and a 1933 Plymouth car parked just west of the elevator, Moore said.
The elevator has witnessed several military plane crashes through the years.
“In the late (1950s), an F-100 crashed after takeoff,” Moore said. “My dad, Fred Moore, witnessed this crash, rushed over to the scene, and helplessly watched as the pilot burned alive.”
Another time, family members said, a B-29 crashed into a haystack near the elevator. The pilot survived, the hay was lost.
Aside from the trespassing teenagers and pigeons, the elevator serves little purpose these days, except to remind us of our past.
Stand tall, old friend.
David Stevens is editor for Clovis News Journal. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org